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New dawn as UN reviews illegal sanctions

THE impending visit by the United Nations Special Rapporteur to review the impact of the illegal and unilateral sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the Western world signals a new dawn in the relentless fight against the embargo, the country’s opposition parties said.

This comes as the UN Special Rapporteur, Dr Alena Douhan, is set to make an official visit to the country from October 18 to 28 to assess the impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights.

Her visit will coincide with October 25, the day set aside by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to call for the unilateral removal of the illegal economic sanctions that have choked the country’s development for two decades now.

The visit by the UN expert is also a revelation that the international community is now appreciative of the negative impact that the sanctions have had on the country’s development, experts and political players said.

Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) rapporteur on international relations and re-engagement Mr Kwanele Hlabangana says the high profile visit is testimony of the success of the Second Republic’s re-engagement efforts.

“It is encouraging for the UN to send a rapporteur to get a deeper understanding of the impact of sanctions on Zimbabwe. It will also be an opportunity to engage with the Rapporteur on the impact of the illegal embargo.

“It is also prudent to note that the Government did not sit back and wait for sanctions to be removed. Government took bold steps and came up with policies that are transforming the economy.

“So without sanctions, the economy could have been growing faster than it currently is,” he said.

In a statement, the office of the UN Human Rights High Commissioner said Ms Douhan will get first-hand information on how the sanctions have impacted ordinary Zimbabweans.

“She is seeking the views of all relevant stakeholders to inform the thematic and geographical focus of the visit and subsequent reporting.

“In order to gather first-hand information related to the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights in a specific country, enabling her to conduct her assessment and evaluation of such impacts, and thus to prepare relevant recommendations and guidelines on means to mitigate or eliminate these adverse impacts, the special rapporteur undertakes field visits,” read the statement in part.

Ms Douhan is the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, and her visit is expected to give her first-hand information on how sanctions have stymied Zimbabwe’s development.

“The purpose of the mission is to examine, in the spirit of co-operation and dialogue, whether and to what extent the adoption, maintenance or implementation of unilateral sanctions impedes the full realisation of the rights set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments, in particular the right of individuals and peoples to development.

“The Special Rapporteur will present her conclusions and recommendations in a report she will submit to the Human Rights Council in September 2022,” reads the statement.

Meanwhile, opposition parties will next month take the anti-sanctions fight to the corridors of Western powers as they ratchet pressure for the unconditional removal of the illegal economic embargoes.

The visit by the UN Special envoy also came at a time when the country received overwhelming support at the recently held United Nations General Assembly in the United States where various countries also called for the removal of the illegal and baneful economic sanctions.

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